Planeswalkers were first introduced to Magic in Lorwyn, with the printing of the “Lorwyn Five”: Ajani, Jace, Liliana, Chandra and Garruk. Since then, their ranks have swollen and continue to grow with more or less every set – but who out of them are the most familiar faces? Who has been printed the most times? Today, we’re going to count down the 11 most-printed planeswalkers, and without wanting to sound too clickbaity, you won’t believe who came in at number one!
Teferi has been around on planeswalker cards for quite awhile: Commander 2014 featured planeswalkers that could also be used as commanders, and the six-mana Teferi, Temporal Archmage was one of them. That version is, of course, completely eclipsed by later versions, most famously the back-to-back Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Teferi, Time Raveler. Both these cards – the three-drop in particular – would go on to warp formats around them, and were extremely dominant in Constructed. Since then, however, Teferi has calmed down a bit, with both his four-drop versions being pretty tame, while his six-drop intro deck versions are… well, they’re six-drop intro deck versions, aren’t they.
Tezzeret has come in various forms over the years, but I think it’s fair to say that none of them have ever been overwhelmingly impactful on any format. As an artifact-based planeswalker, Tezzeret needs to be in a pretty specific type of deck in order for him to do his best work – but if that deck ever comes together, you better watch out. In particular, the four-drop Agent of Bolas can be pretty nasty, and I lost to plenty of incredible Standard brews that did ridiculous things with the six-drop Master of the Bridge and its ability granting affinity for artifacts.
Sorin is back again in Crimson Vow, bringing him in line with Sarkhan and Gideon (although Gideon’s unlikely to overtake him again, right? What? Too soon? Oops). Sorin has done alright over the years, although he’s almost always a support character in whatever deck he appears in. Whether it’s in Vampire tribal with Imperious Bloodlord, tokens with Solemn Visitor or life gain with Vengeful Bloodlord, Sorin has been good but not great. Is Sorin the Mirthless the best Sorin yet? Perhaps, but that’s not a high bar to clear.
Sarkhan has had an interesting career. First printed as Sarkhan the Mad, I believe he was the first planeswalker to be printed without a plus ability – since then, we’ve had all sorts of weird iterations of this long-haired dragonmaster. He does all sorts of stuff – across the eight Sarkhans, he makes Dragons (either 4/4s or 5/5s), deals damage, makes mana, draws cards (and discards them) and there’s even an Act of Treason thrown in there for good measure. Quite a diverse set of skills Sarkhan seems to have!
Alas, poor Gideon – taken from us too soon, too precious for this world. Old mate Hercules Beefslab came in many forms, but they all did more or less the same thing – turn into an unkillable monster and attack with the rest of the team. Sure, sometimes he was a 4/4, sometimes a 5/5, but one thing was certain – he wasn’t dying, with indestructible and “prevent all damage” and whatever else. Then the creative team comes along with a great big Dismember, and that’s the end of it for poor old Gids. Goodnight, sweet prince – forever in our hearts.
Garruk went on a long hiatus after being printed in M15 – he was the second-ever planeswalker to have four abilities, and it wore him out so much he didn’t reappear until Throne of Eldraine, five years later. People were very excited to see him return, and with good reason – he was one of the iconic Lorwyn Five, that first group of planeswalkers ever to be printed. Now that he’s back, he’s… better than ever? No, probably not. Cursed Huntsman, Unleashed and Wrath of the Wilds are fine, but they’re no Primal Hunter or – best of all – Garruk Relentless. A four-mana Lightning Bolt in green? Sign me up, bucko.
Nissa underwent a bit of a career change after her first printing in original Zendikar. Starting off as an Elf-based planeswalker, she quickly shifted instead to become the land-based planeswalker, and broadly speaking has remained so through to the present (with the exception of Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, who was really into tokens). Everyone will remember Nissa, Who Shakes the World as her unquestionably most-powerful printing, providing a one-sided Mana Flare for all your Forests – play Nissa, untap Breeding Pool, hold up Negate, your go. So disgusting.
It’s no surprise to see Jace right up towards the top of the leaderboard here. Jace has been an icon of Magic since Jace Beleren – “Party Jace” – was printed in the Lorwyn Five, and a lot of that is to do with his second-ever iteration: Jace, the Mind Sculptor. JTMS was unquestionably the most powerful planeswalker ever printed for a long time, until cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns and Wrenn and Six challenged him for the title. There’s a Jace for every power level, though – busted Jaces like the Mind Sculptor, powerful Jaces like Vryn’s Prodigy, strong Jaces, like Architect of Thought, and garbage Jaces like the Living Guildpact. Truly, a planeswalker for all seasons.
As unsurprising as it is to see Jace up the top of the list, it’s odd to find Ajani here as well! Ajani joins Jace on 12 printings, also dating back to the original Lorwyn Five. Since then, we’ve had Ajani Vengeant slinging Lightning Helices around, Strength of the Pride gaining us life, Adversary of Tyrants pumping the team and even Ajani Unyielding armed with Swords to Plowshares. I thought Sarkhan had a diverse skill set – Ajani has everything from direct damage to token generation to +1/+1 counters to card advantage to gaining 100 life in one go.
As another truly iconic character in Magic, Liliana beats out every other planeswalker but one, with a massive 13 total printings. The pick of the bunch is, of course, Liliana of the Veil, who was considered the second-best planeswalker to JTMS before these young whippersnappers came along – and since then she’s had a pretty quiet time of it. Death’s Majesty was a bit of a role-player, and Dreadhorde General and Professor Onyx have done some work. Overall, however, it’s her two three-drop versions – Liliana of the Veil and Liliana, the Last Hope – that have seen her do her best work.
Finally, in first place with an astonishing 17 separate versions, it’s Chandra. Granted, she did have M20 be all about her which resulted in four Chandras in one set, but all the same she has had quite the career. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is unquestionably the best Chandra ever printed – another rare four-ability planeswalker – while Chandra, Pyromaster was one of the first cards to feature red’s “impulse draw” mechanic that is now much more common than it used to be. Mostly, however, Chandra is known for one thing and one thing only – dealing damage. In fact, of the 17 Chandras, only one doesn’t directly deal damage to something: Chandra, Acolyte of Flame. Instead, she summons two hasty 1/1s, and they do the damage for her!